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Weng’s Chop magazine #2 (magazine review)

Well, isn’t that a time to have a nice retro look at another issue of one of the world’s best, if not the best, current movie magazines? Of course it is!

I am sure some of you might follow this review with your own copy firmly in your hands (don’t thank me, I am glad to help you to decide), so without any further ado, let’s see what the duo of Brian and Tim has brought to our attention in December 2012…man, seems like ages ago!

The cover I’ve chosen to get (as there are cover variants) is – for the third time – graced by the art of David Barnes, and I have to admit, I haven’t liked these back then. Nah, I quite disliked them. Just a personal opinion, of course, I have no qualifications to ever talk about paiting, so take it with a very very big pinch of salt here. But lately I’ve come to appreciate it not for what they show or how they look as covers, but more on the level of how they are done. I’d never come to possess that idea, that vision how to paint the stuff..you know, a stroke here, a stroke there… so yeah, it’s like listening to 4 Non Blondes. 😀

Anyway, a Content page is made more pleasant to the eyes of the reader with the pic of beautiful Leena Kurishingal, I’ve almost started to hum “If you going to San Francisco”, as the headband she wears in the pic there invoke in me the spirit of the Flower Power generation, which, of course, I have never experienced. For good or bad, I don’t know.

As you can see from the list of contributors on page 2, some of the fine folks writing for the previous two issues are still here, some gone, some new ones have arrived, and it’s that nice conglomerate of different tastes, which makes the perfect atmosphere.

Now, pages 3 and 4 bring us a The Painted Skin by Pu Songling (1740), the classic tale, which has inspired some nice HK movies and I really praise including this text here, as it shows the movie geeks and cultural nerds are what they are – cultural. I am not sure how many casual moviegoers usually peruse sources of their latest blockbusters, stories behind it and interesting bits n’ bobs beyond the usual sensational tabloid headlines, but that’s what most of the “other cinema” lovers do. Or they definitely should do.

Pages 5 and little bit of 6 (along with two ads) bring us a nice article about the merging of the popular genres of kung-fu and western, creating – usually – a very entertaining western-fu or the “eastern” subgenre. A case in point – Shangai Noon and Shangai Knights. I have seen one of these, I’m not sure which one, and I remember not being blown away by it, but for a long time I am not drawn to comedies of any kind very much, so that’s that, you know. Nowadays I’ll probably pick up Shinjuku Incident over anything silly Jackie Chan did in his best comedies, but I guess it’s just a sign o’ the times. Or I am just becoming a grumpy old geezer.

Pages 7 – 9 are dedicated to Kuei Chin Hung, and again, it’s the publications like the one we’re talking about bringing these amazing persons – directors, actors, legendary producers, what have you – to the attention of readers. And again, it just sparks the interest to seek out those titles mentioned in articles like these.Sure, I’ve heard a few titles, but now I am a little wiser as to whom we can thank for some fantastic movies out there.

Pages 10 – 12 bring us the Blood Brothers, “The Pistol-Packed Pasta Dramas of Gianni Garko & Klaus Kinski”, and with that subtitle you know we’re dealing with a great few of Italian spaghetti westerns, plus one maccaroni combat piece in a form of 5 For Hell and I’m making a mental note here to finally watch it (it took me some time to get it on DVD) and also to get and watch The Great Silence, as I keep putting it into a backburner for a long time now, which is unacceptable. You agree, right?

And we’re not abandoning western genre lightly, for Steven Ronquillo invites us to A Pistolry of Violence (pages 13-14) and Tim Paxton brings his take on Mexican horror westerns in his amazing piece on pages 15 – 20.

Oh, you still want more? Lucky you, pages 21 – 24 are full of interesting information from John Grace about Tony Anthony and movies he’s starred in, in the article titled “No Second Banana”.

And finally, pages 25 – 29 are dedicated to yet another Tim Paxton’s great piece about Indian cinema, this time about Indian westerns – and I am sure you won’t find articles like these anywhere else. And this is not the only Indian movies related article in this issue, but you have to wait a little.

OK, enough of westerns, I hear you, don’t worry! Jolyon Yates introduces us to Thai Kaiju (pages 30 – 33). What can I say? Monster movies? Bring them on, what else you want me to say? Although it will cause me another financial harm in a near future, but hey, no pain – no gain, right?

Pages 34 – 36 are dedicated to the interview with aforementioned Leena Kurishingal, followed by the one page interview (page 37) with Sifu DB3 and it took me some time (maybe I was a little braindead then) to actually find out we’re talking about David Barnes, the artist behind the covers of WCH I’ve been talking about in the beginning of this review. Some kind of short introduction would be indeed nice.

Another page, another interview, Gary Baxter interviews (pages 38 – 39) the filmmaker Darren Ward, a man behind movies Sudden Fury and A Day of Violence.

Pages 40 – 54 are dedicated to movie reviews. I like to read them, I like to re-read them. And you know, when you re-visit the issue like I am doing now, you can grin with me…yeah, I have this movie now, I’ve seen that one…oh, this one was sooo boring…etc., etc…. while the majority of folks you try to share your movie enthusiasm with would just stare at you with that WTF look on their faces…. True story!

Another batch of reviews occupy pages 55 – 57, these come from the pen of Danae Dunning and deal with more known classics (again, from the point of view of a little more seasoned movie lover, I can bet my today’s wage majority of people you would ask wouldn’t have a clue about them). But that’s OK, nothing wrong with it.

Roll the drums, Tim Paxton for the third time. Pages 58 – 64 contain the 3rd installment of his long running series about Indian horror cinema and I have to admit these are probably the most interesting articles I’ve ever read about movies. And it’s funny, you know, because I’m quite sure I will never watch a vast majority of them (due their inavailability for the most part), or because they are stinkers, but kudos to Tim for suffer through many of these for us and for the heaps of information he brings out in his articles. Absolutely amazing.

The Bookshelf on page 65 introduces us to two publications, this time it’s Muchas Gracias, Seňor Lobo (and I guess there is no need to mention it’s dedicated to the work of Paul Naschy) and the short info about the 2nd issue of Belgian movie zine called Cinemagfantastique (alas, in French).

66 – 68, these pages are dedicated to comics, and it’s through the long article of the legendary artist Stephen R. Bisette and a little review by Mike Howlett of the book Matt Baker: The Art of Glamour (edited by Jim Amash and Eric Nolen-Weathington).

And almost finished with the issue, pages 69 and 70 is the place for reviews of various little zines (courtesy of Dan Taylor) and the ad for Brian Harris’ Gimp series of books full of interesting movie reviews (and don’t worry, we’re gonna review those as well).

Last page – the ad for Masters of Taboo Cannibalism. Check the Amazon to see what it’s about!

And that’s it, folks. Weng’s Chop, issue #2, diggested for your reading pleasure. Now get that credit card and order one for yourself. Or, you already have? Good!

Get it on Amazon, as always!

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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